The Dreamliner 787 was carrying 252 passengers, four pilots and 11 flight attendants. In 29-second video shot by Neil Kay, a passenger on the plane, a man could be heard arguing with a flight attendant apparently about his seating assignment.
"If you guys treat people right on these things, you see two last names the same, don't put someone else in the middle of them," he says.
It's unclear what the flight attendant says back to him, but the man replies: "I'm as calm as can be."
"No, you're yelling at me," the flight attendant can be heard saying.
"I'm yelling at you? I'm not yelling. You wanna hear me f------ yell?" he says.
The two exchanged more words and then the flight attendant asked him whether the captain should be called.
"Do you know how cool it would be to have the airplane turned around because of me?" the man says. "You're gonna do that. You do that. I'm being so impolite, aren't I? Fat a--."
Kay told ABC News that he had more footage of the man yelling profanities at passengers and the flight crew.
United said passengers were put on another flight that left Auckland today. It arrived in San Francisco at approximately 9:40 a.m.
"We apologized to our customers for the inconvenience," United said.
Senta Jehle, a national border manager for Immigration New Zealand, said that a US national had been refused entry into New Zealand.
"He did not meet entry and border requirements," Jehle said. "He is now in police custody while arrangements are made for him to board a flight back to the United States. For privacy and legal reasons, INZ (Immigration New Zealand) can make no further comment."
New Zealand authorities later said the passenger would be on the next available flight to his destination. Until then, they said he would be held in police custody but no charges would be filed.